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Gangs in North Carolina: A Comparative Analysis Between 1999 and 2004

NCJ Number
Richard Hayes
Date Published
8 pages
This study investigated youth gangs and gang trends in North Carolina.
Results show that law enforcement, courts, and correctional professionals agree that there is an increase in the number of identified criminal gangs. Disproportionate minority involvement in criminal gangs remains a social concern, nationally. Hispanics make up 49 percent of gang involved youths, and African-Americans make up just over 30 percent. Hispanic youth pose additional concerns to the criminal justice system because of language barriers between law enforcement, court personnel, jail and corrections personnel, presenting financial concerns to local and State agencies needing bilingual employees. Programs to intervene or deter youth from entering gangs must focus on multiple cultural environments without causing overlap and duplication of programs. The involvement of females in gangs continues to generate concern as does the involvement of juveniles (ages 15 and younger) in criminal enterprises. Criminal involvement of youths has generally been a male preoccupation of those in their middle 20s and younger. Criminal gangs provide a pathway for broader inclusion of females and younger children in organized criminal activities including assaults, drug and weapon crimes, and many other illegal activities. Findings suggest that programs should focus intervention and deterrence of gang involvement on children under age 15. After school programs should include gang awareness education to reduce the likelihood of gang involvement. Data were collected from every law enforcement agency in North Carolina (514) and all school resource officers in the State (800). Figures